BBC Radio 5 Live is set to expose the scandalous spread of unpaid internships from the private sector into the public sector.

THIS Sunday (10th October) at 9pm, 5 Live Investigates will ask universities minister David Willetts whether the government is guilty breaking the law by exploiting young, unpaid workers – and taking advantage of young people’s desperation to gain experience.

The show’s producers contacted Graduate Fog a few months ago asking for my help amassing details about the true reach of this corrosive practice.

(Of course, I was very happy to help!)

The team admitted they were shocked at the number of placements they discovered – many of which were advertised openly on websites including w4mp

My spy at Radio 5 Live promises an explosive show on Sunday, telling me:

“We’ve found dozens of unpaid jobs in the public sector – within local government, government departments and the health service.

“They include admin and research work in primary care trusts, visa application processing in the Home Office and a huge range of jobs in local councils.

“We will be revealing how the culture of unpaid work is creeping from media, fashion and private companies into vital public services in the face of government cutbacks.”

It is clear that these roles are not just work shadowing (or tea making) – and many placements last for months.

One Home Office internship advertises an ‘exciting opportunity to gain experience in an office based administration role’. The successful candidate will help process student visa applications and as the ad says will have ‘an increased level of responsibility’ and ‘be measured against quality targets’.

The show’s presenter, journalist Adrian Goldberg, will also speak to a graduate who worked as an unpaid intern for five months in an admin role for a Primary Care Trust. During her time there, she was even asked to help train managers to do staff appraisals.

Later, Goldberg will present universities minister David Willetts with this evidence – and demand a response to this scandal.

This promises to be one hell of a show…

*Have you done a public sector internship?
What was your experience – and will you be listening to this programme on Sunday?

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